Assemblyman John McKeon, Former West Orange Mayor, Updates Public on "Pamela's Law"
Friday, September 7, 2012 • 6:15pm
In March 2011, McKeon introduced the measure (A-3984) known as Pamela's Law, to criminalize the possession and sale of products containing narcotic substances such as mephedrone or 4-MMC, and methylenedioxpyrovalerone or MDPV, disguised as bath salts.
The six banned chemicals include methylone or MDMC, methedrone or bk-PMMA, PMMC; 3-FMC; and flephedrone or 4-FMC.
Prior to the enactment of the law, these dangerous drugs were sold over the counter and were readily available at gas stations, convenience stores or head shops. Shortly after the measure was introduced, the AG's office announced plans in April, 2011, to add illegal bath salts to the list of controlled dangerous substances and subsequently, imposed a statewide ban in February.
"The dramatic drop in the use of deadly drugs masqueraded as bath salts, is the result of lawmakers and law enforcement working effectively together to crackdown on the perpetrators of illegal drugs and to help protect the public from the harmful affects of dangerous narcotics that were once openly available in the market," McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) said.
"We are glad that the state Attorney General's office joined our efforts to take these drugs off the shelves by imposing a statewide ban after we sponsored legislation to criminalize the sale and possession of illegal bath salts. We decided to crackdown on these drugs after learning of their devastating impact, especially on our youth."
The drugs had become increasingly popular among young people attending nightclubs. They came branded with names like Ivory Wave, Ocean, Charge, White Lightning, Cloud-9, White Dove, Hurricane Charlie and Scarface.
Some of the after-affects of using these substances, which are believed to be highly addictive, include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, users experience an intense high, extreme energy, hallucinations, insomnia and are easily provoked to anger.
Mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV, that come in powder and tablet form, are ingested by snorting, injection, smoking, and less often, by the use of an atomizer. They create a "meth-like" high and can pack as much punch as cocaine or methamphetamines.
"Perpetrators who engage in a blatant violation of the law by disguising dangerous drugs as bath salts must be dealt with severely. By punishing offenders with three to ten years imprisonment, the measure we sponsored acts as a strong deterrent to drug peddling. It also codifies in statute, a ban on these illegal products," McKeon said. "Even as we take one kind of drug off the streets, others are likely to appear. We must continue to fight the menace of drugs."
Pamela's Law imposes harsh penalties for the possession or sale of illegal bath salts. The legislation makes it a crime of the second degree in New Jersey to manufacture, distribute or dispense, or possess, or have under one's control with the intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense, substances that contain narcotics such as mephedrone or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, in an amount of one ounce of more. Offenses that involve less than one ounce are graded as a third degree crime.
A crime of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to 10 years, a fine of up to $150,000, or both. A third degree offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
The measure was named Pamela's Law after a Rutgers student Pamela Schmidt was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, William J. Parisio, believed at the time, to be under the influence of bath salts. A subsequent toxicology report revealed the absence of drugs in his system.